Filename extension: .gsm
Developed by: ETSI
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The GSM filetype is an audio format widely known for its application in archiving voice data, particularly in telephony. GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, but in the context of filetypes, it typically refers to the GSM 06.10 lossy speech compression codec developed for use in mobile phone systems. This codec was designed to compress spoken audio for efficient storage and transmission over the bandwidth-limited mobile networks of the late 20th century.

Historical Context

Introduced in the late 1980s, the GSM codec quickly became a standard in voice data compression due to its efficient algorithm, which allowed it to provide acceptable speech quality at low data rates. This efficiency was crucial in the era of early mobile communications, where network bandwidth and storage were at a premium.

How GSM Files Work

GSM files encapsulate audio data that has gone through the GSM 06.10 encoding process. This process reduces file size by compressing vocal frequencies most critical to human speech intelligibility while disregarding less important sounds. As a result, the GSM format offers a good balance between compression rate and audio quality, especially for speech.

Software that Utilizes GSM

Various audio and telecommunication applications have incorporated GSM codec support for voice storage and transmission. Software such as Audacity, a popular open-source audio editor, and VLC media player, which is known for its wide format support, are capable of handling GSM files. Many telephony and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems continue to employ the GSM codec for its efficiency and clarity.

Alternatives to GSM

Despite its continued use, alternatives to the GSM filetype have emerged, particularly with the advancement of audio compression technologies. Formats like MP3 and AAC offer broader applications and greater efficiency for general audio, whereas codecs like AMR and Opus are used for newer telecommunication systems, offering improved compression algorithms suited for modern networks and devices.

As technology evolves and demands for higher audio quality and lower data use persist, the choice of codecs will be crucial for balancing cost, efficiency, and performance in a variety of audio-related industries.

Supported converters for GSM files

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